British footwear firm
Founded: by Jimmy Sarvea. Company History: Opened first shop, Reading, Berkshire, 1970; firm bought by Allied Shoes Ltd. Company Address: Allied Shoes, 77-79 Great Eastern St., London EC2A 3HU, UK.
Transport shoes probably epitomized the growth of modern foot-wear fashion and the looks we took for granted as the street level expression of the young. The originator of the label, Jimmy Sarvea, previously a boxer, was first a shoe repairer, became an assistant manager for a major footwear retailer, and went on to become one of the leading shoe entrepreneurs of the 1970s and 1980s. From the opening of his first shop in Reading, Berkshire, in 1970 to his continued presence on the High Street, Sarvea helped ensure that the avant-garde, trend-conscious customer was well served.
Whether classic or high fashion, the original Transport shoes, manufactured in Italy, created an impressive turnover. One of the most famous outlets for their men's shoes was Succhi, a mecca for the discriminating. The menswear market in general had become increasingly aware of fashion as the decade progressed, and the individuality of the footwear sold under the Transport label became an essential ingredient of a positive statement. Sarvea was joined by Carol Sullivan and the influence they found from streetwear added charisma and a new visual freedom to their shoes. The collection continued to grow, with exciting and innovative designs for both sexes. Many styles were unisex, with wide use of the unexpected, including glitter fabrics, stinging shades of orange and purple, unforgettable last and heel shapes, platform soles, chunky silhouettes, and interesting and unusual use of laces and buckles.
Transport shoes were featured on Top of the Pops, a BBC television musical program for the young, and potential customers eagerly sought out the shoes. Transport had created the most anticipatory underground footwear fashion statement of the 1980s. Their ultimate goal, total originality, assisted in attracting celebrities of the period, and George Michael, Five Star, Duran Duran, and Ian Dury were the pioneers for those who desired, for personal or professional reasons, that their footwear be the center of attention.